15 Great Ways to Eat Out for Less! (Take-out Tuesday)

In our family, we love to EAT OUT.

We come from a long line of people who like to eat and who like to enjoy a meal out.

We like fast food and not so fast food.

We enjoy gourmet dining and down home cooking.

We just love to eat out.

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However, we do NOT like to overspend the budget on eating out. It can get expensive really fast. In order to save some money, we have tried some strategies to make our meals out a little more affordable.

These are just a few of our ideas and some ideas I discovered online. I hope some of these suggestions will help you and your family to save a few dollars as you enjoy a meal out.

Here are 15 ways you can eat out for less:

#1 – Drink water instead of iced tea or soft drinks.

Many restaurants charge a lot for beverages. You can save a great amount on your total bill if you will just order water.

For example, here are a few prices I found on our recent receipts from area restaurants:

  • Zaxby’s – $1.99 for small soft drink/tea        ($7.96 for four people)
  • Off the Hoof – $2.50 per soft drink/tea        ($10 for four people)
  • Kooky Canuck – $2.30 per soft drink/tea     ($9.20 for four people)
  • Bonefish – $2.85 per soft drink/tea               ($11.40 for four people)
  • Jason’s Deli – $1.99 per soft drink/tea          ($7.96 for four people)

# 2 – Go out to eat at lunch instead of dinner.

Most restaurants have a lunch menu that is separate from their dinner menu. You can cut your cost in half by dining at the lunch hour.

For example – Do you like Olive Garden?

Their “all you can eat soup and salad” is available at lunch for $6.99 each. At dinner, it goes up to $9.99. They also offer many less expensive options at lunch that are not on the dinner menu.

# 3 – Have an afternoon snack before dinner.

Try not to go to the restaurant in “starving mode.” Eat an apple, a granola bar or some other filling snack late in the afternoon. This may help to curb your appetite.

You may also try drinking a large glass of water before you get to the restaurant. This may also help with portion control if you are trying to diet.

#4 – Enjoy the free chips, bread, snacks or whatever the restaurant serves!

You can make a meal on the bread and butter, chips and salsa and other warm-up dishes that many restaurants serve. Take advantage of these free appetizers. You won’t have to order such a big meal if you fill up on the freebies!

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#5 – Order an appetizer to cut down on your need for a huge meal.

Most places serve some great appetizers for under $10. You can always start with one of these dishes to stave off your hunger.

#6 – Split something with your date or with the table.

You can share a meal with someone or you could share food at the entire table. Many restaurants will just split the cost between all of the parties at your table.

This can be a really fun way to get to try more options and experience more great tastes.

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#7 – Look for Coupons – Look for them online, in the mail and by email.

Many of my friends sign up for Groupons at www.groupon.com. This site will send you regular offers – many of them for dining out.

Try doing an Internet search on your favorite restaurant. You can often find some good deals by doing one of these searches.

#8 – Get on the Email club of your favorite restaurants.

We are members of many restaurant email clubs. The restaurants will send you specials, coupons and updates about once a week. You won’t have to search for the deals; the deals will come to you.

One site that does especially well with these emails is Chili’s. They send out deals, coupons and specials several times a month, letting you know about ways you can save money.

#9 – Take advantage of Early bird specials.

You can find out more about the specials by going to each restaurant’s website and looking for a tab called “specials” or “deals.”

Here are two that I found today:

Osaka – has an entire “Early bird menu”

http://www.osaka-cuisine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=45&Itemid=54

Shogun – Early Bird 20% off Steak & Chicken, Chicken & Shrimp, or Shrimp & Steak * everyday 5 – 6:30 p.m.

http://www.letseat.at/shogunjap

#10 – Go on the right day or night – for example – “Kids Eat Free Night”

I found a wonderful list at this Memphis.About.com link: http://memphis.about.com/od/foodanddining/a/kidseatfree1.htm

 

A few examples for kids:

Mondays – (most with purchase of an adult meal)

  • Abners – kids eat free
  • Central Barbeque on Summer – kids eat free
  • Olive Branch Catfish – kids eat free

 Tuesdays – (most with one adult meal purchase)

  • Danvers – kids eat free
  • Fazoli’s – $.99 per child
  • Holiday Ham – kids eat free
  • McAllisters – kids eat free

Be sure to check the website listed above and search your own favorite places for more great deals!

# 11 – Order an appetizer as your meal (huffingtonpost.com)

Order an Appetizer as Your Meal – really.

You can add a side salad and make a meal out of a great appetizer. This one trick can save you up to $10 a person at some restaurants.

For more suggestions like this one, check out this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-daily-meal/the-best-ways-to-spend-le_b_4475922.html

# 12 – Eat free on your birthday (Marketwatch.com)

Many restaurants will allow you to eat free on your birthday (or at a discounted rate). You can find out some of these places by visiting this link: Eatfreeonyourbirthday.com

For more suggestions like these, check out this link: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/6-ways-to-dine-out-for-less-2014-04-10?page=2

#13 – Ask about a half portion (mydollarplan.com)

Some restaurants will gladly make a half size meal for half the price. This may help with that diet as well. You can read more at: http://www.mydollarplan.com/10-ways-to-eat-out-for-less/#ixzz3RGO13jXj

#14 – Dine somewhere that doesn’t require a tip (happyhousewife.com)

A tip can add a great deal to the cost of your meal, especially in a nicer restaurant. Try some places that don’t require a tip like Panera, Chipotle, Humdingers, Mo’s, McAllisters and Jason’s Deli. Since they have counter service no tip is necessary.

For more suggestions like these, check out this link: https://happyhousewife.wordpress.com/2008/03/28/13-ways-to-save-money-eating-out/

#15 – Find senior discounts (usnews.com)

Take advantage of those senior discounts. Many restaurants start offering a senior discount for people starting at age 55. Why not enjoy it?

For more info like this, try this link: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2014/02/28/12-ways-to-dine-out-on-the-cheap

IMG_3211That’s it for my tips.

I’ll bet you have some great ideas as well.

I’d love to hear your ideas. You can leave me a suggestion in the comments section or email me at helloredds@gmail.com.

Hope you get to enjoy a meal out this week – for less!

Blessings,

Melanie

~ This post was first shared on Feb. 10, 2015.

**And, would you do me a favor — if this article has helped you today — would you share it with someone else?

~ I regularly link to these AMAZING SITES~

© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.






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Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

12 thoughts on “15 Great Ways to Eat Out for Less! (Take-out Tuesday)

  1. Off the Hoof will only charge you $1.00 (refill) for a drink if you save the cup and bring it back with you on your following visits. I also use apps like groupon, living social and restaurant.com. Usually get half price.

    1. Thanks for the info, Shari!

      Good to know. We do like those specials and coupons!

      Hope you and your family are doing well. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  2. It is good stewardship to find ways to make every dollar stretch in purchasing power! These are all great suggestions and the pic’s were good too! (made me hiungry!!!) Thanks again for sharing wisdom in this practical post!

  3. We grew up very rarely going out to eat. Is it crazy that I would rather eat in and if I never ate out again, I would be totally ok with that? Crazy, right? I think because I’m such a health nut and never like spending $$$ then it just works better for us! I do like some of your tips though – like finding the specials, etc!

    1. Caroline,

      You go girl! I think it’s great that you like to cook and eat in. I’m sure you save a ton of money by living this way. And, you likely eat more healthy. I wish I didn’t like to eat out so much!

      Thanks for stopping by to leave a comment today. I love visitors and really enjoy hearing from friends online!

      Hope you have a wonderful weekend~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

  4. How many souls have been hurt by something we did not do for them because we were too busy or indifferent–one would be too many if we were truthful. While I have had hurts in my life I praise Him for them in that I learned to have care for them and maybe I wouldn’t have other wise . Pastors, elders, congregations as humans do this–hurt with and without knowledge of their situation. That’s why God says we need a saviour! What a wonderful picture of you standing in for your brother and accepting his punishment of what Christ did for us. Thanks ever so much for putting it that way for us to understand and help others. I hope to never be indifferent or non responsive to hurts but that small part inside me sometimes does I think and then I ask for his forgiveness and try again.

    1. Hey Barbara,

      Thanks so much for stopping by today and leaving such kind and encouraging comments. I really appreciate your visit!

      It sounds like you are a very compassionate and sensitive person. Likely, you’ve been a wonderful testimony for Christ to others who are a part of your church. Don’t you love knowing that His mercies are new every single morning!

      And, we sure do need a Savior, don’t we!

      You have blessed me with your words today.
      I hope you will have a wonderful weekend~
      Blessings,
      Melanie

    1. Thanks, Stephanie!

      I’m glad my pictures made you hungry! I have that happen all the time when I see food blogs – especially desserts!

      I appreciate you stopping by today to leave a kind comment. I love visits from new friends, and I’ll try to get by your site soon~

      Blessings,
      Melanie

  5. Thank you for sharing these are great tips! I love to eat out and so does my family! I have received several email offers for a free meal for my birthday on the 2nd and have already made plans with my sister:) Ordering water is my favorite. I was at lunch with my folks on the 4th and the drinks were $3.19/each! Thanks again for sharing and have a blessed Sunday!

    1. Hey Horace,

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a kind word today! I appreciate you and your visit.

      And, don’t you love saving money on that water drink when eating out! I think it drives the restaurants a little crazy~

      Hope you have a blessed day today,
      Melanie

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